Siew Yoke (Roast Pork) with Panasonic Cubie Oven

There is something innately appealing about crispy food. Perhaps it’s because we associate crispy with great tasting food: generally crispy food is a product of the Maillard reaction, which leads to more intensely flavoured and savoury food, or maybe it’s the whole sensory experience of hearing that tantalizing sound of crunch and the texture. For me, the top 3 crispy food would be 1: Fried Chicken, which I have to cut out of my diet to protect my voice; 2. Tonkatsu (Japanese Deep Fried Pork Cutlet), which is another thing I have to eat sparingly of; and 3. Siew Yoke! Luckily this one I can eat whenever I want. Good news is that it’s also pretty convenient to make it at home.

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You, glorious thing.

With the gadgets I have at home, there are no shortage of ways to make this delicious treat. The convection oven is the standard, Airfryer is super convenient and foolproof, and now I have the Panasonic Cubie Oven too which can achieve the same delicious result.

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The Cubie in action.

As I’ve mentioned in my previous post, the Panasonic Cubie Oven has a few interesting functions, and you can read about its performance of steaming here. Today, I’d like to talk about the Healthy Fry function. Basically, akin to an airfryer. The oven circulates hot air to cook the food, so you can crisp up your dish without using much oil (or none at all if the ingredients are naturally oily). I’ve decided to try using this function to make my Siew Yoke. And did it work? It sure did!

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Before we get to that, let me also tell you that I’ve tried using just the Convection oven mode as well and while it can also produce a decent siew yoke, it does require a much longer time and as a result the skin is a little less crispy than the healthy fry version and the meat ended up a bit too dry.

Anyway, let’s get to the recipe then. The basic Siew Yoke requires only a few essential ingredients:

Pork Belly (obviously)

Generous amount of Salt

Pepper to taste

1 teaspoon 5 Spice Powder

1 tablespoon Vinegar (or Lemon Juice).

The salt, pepper and 5 spice powder are used in combination to marinate the meat side while the vinegar or lemon juice is combined with salt for the skin to draw out moisture. But it’s the preparation that makes a world of difference for the crispy skin.

1. So, first, you take a whole slab of pork belly and blanch it well, for around 15 minutes, making sure it’s cooked all the way through. Then, drain and pat it dry.

2. Next step is absolutely crucial. You must poke hundreds of holes through the skin. How do you do that? Either with a fork, a skewer (takes ages, trust me), or a spike meat tenderizer that looks a little bit a torture device. Do it over and over again until you are satisfied that every surface has been covered. Then wipe the skin dry and apply vinegar and salt. It’s also time to apply your salt/pepper/5 spice marinade on the meat side.

You might have noticed that the first and second picture look slightly different, it’s because I decided to score my skin the second time for easy cutting later.

3. Once you’ve done that and properly worked up some sweat, leave the pork near a window to air dry for a few hours. Wiping the skin dry occasionally if needed. If the weather is humid, you might even want to consider using a hairdryer to dry it for a minute or two.

4. When the pork belly is almost ready for the cooking, turn on the cubie oven to healthy fry mode and let it preheat (the preset temperature is 190 and it’s fixed). Set it to 60 minutes and put in the pork belly, skin side up. Make sure the slab sits evenly so the skin will cook evenly.

5. Check the pork in the last few minutes, if the skin hasn’t bubbled up, add another 15-20 minutes and keep an eye on it so it doesn’t get burnt. For this batch, I also applied a miso/honey baste at the end for added flavour. It was such a good idea!

So the end product…. super crispy skin!

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Tasty, juicy meat, perfect crunch. Just watch them disappear in minutes!

For more information on Panasonic Cubie Oven, hop over to their website, or check out Panasonic’s facebook page.

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Lan Jie style Steamed Tilapia with Panasonic Cubie Oven

If you come into my kitchen, you might assume that I’m a gadget geek. Well, it wouldn’t be too far from the truth as we had to clear out a good portion of our kitchen to welcome the newest member, and joining my long list of high tech kitchen appliances is the Panasonic Cubie Oven.

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After using the Panasonic Cubie Oven for a week, trying out its different functions: I can now share with you some of the pros and cons of this device. The first thing I did with this, of course, was to steam a fish. Before this, I shall mention that Kevin and I had a debate on whether it’s possible to do a whole fish seeing it’s much smaller than our oven. Turns out, it might be compact, it’s definitely spacious enough to cook a good sized fish!

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Fish on the side for comparison. Turned on the steam mode to check how it works and prompted geeked out haha. More on that later.

Since we had a Tilapia in our freezer waiting to be used, what better to share our current favourite recipe?

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This dish is inspired by the famous Lan Jie restaurant which has numerous branches across Klang Valley. This restaurant specialises on Steamed Tilapia. In fact, that’s all everyone eats when they are there. Its concept is that everyone gets a fish each. You can choose the level of heat and that’s about it. Yet it’s the burst of flavours due to the super umami toppings that makes the dish so enjoyable.

The recipe is simple, so it’s important that the quality of the fish is good. The recipe I found was shared by Kimberly (Hi Kim! BTW I’m still following your blog religiously. Closet fan here haha). Actually, I couldn’t tell for sure if it’s exactly like Lan Jie because I always go for super spicy so it kinda drowns out everything else. But this recipe is tasty enough.

Lan Jie inspired Steamed Tilapia

1 Tilapia (I used a Red one, Lan Jie uses Black)
1 thumb sized ginger, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 chilli padi
2 tbsp Light Soy Sauce
1 tbsp Soy Bean Paste (Taucu)
1 splash of Shao Xing Wine
Spring Onion and Coriander to Garnish

1. Heat a pan with a neutral oil. Fry garlic and ginger until fragrant. Add soy bean paste, soy sauce and Shao Xing wine and stir around for 1 minute until the sauce is nice and combined. Add chilli and then turn off heat (beware of the cooking fume… it’s pungent!).

2. Prep the fish as usual, making a few shallow slices across the body. You might want to quickly blanch it if you are worried about the muddy taste. If the fish is super fresh, it should be ok though. Place the fish on steaming dish. Once the sauce is cooked, poured it over the fish.

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3. Set the Panasonic Cubie Oven to Steam Mode – Medium, and set the timer to 15minutes. Or select Steamed Fish from the Auto Cook Menu (which is number 1) and put in the weight and press start. Then just watch the cubie work its magic!

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The Cubie Oven has a water tank on the top right corner which takes up to 600ml of water (cold, tap water will do. Never mineral water). During the steam mode, it basically squirts out water to a small sink then heat it for the evaporation. Kinda cool watching it work and in fact, I was totally geeking out during the first few times.

So I’ve tried both the Auto cook mode and Manual input and both works like a charm. The fish came out perfectly cooked!

And of course, to steam this normally, either do it traditionally over a wok (or whatever steaming device you have) for 15 minutes on medium heat.

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5. To serve, simply garnish with spring onion and coriander… and extra chilli if you like. Serve with plenty of rice!

Steaming food is a breeze with the Cubie. The only downside is that you do have to do a proper wipe down after it completely cools down because the water tends to pool at the bottom, even though there’s a drip tray at the front and bottom part of the oven (which should also be clean every time after use). Basically, it’s important to be diligent with cleaning to prevent limestone build up.

For more information on Panasonic Cubie Oven, hop over to their website, or check out Panasonic’s facebook page.

Panasonic Cooking Workshop: Creating Colourful Flavours

It seems that everytime I’m at a social event, someone is bound to come up to me with these “I have not seen you for the longest time! Where have you been?!”. Well, I have not disappeared, just that I have not been receiving much of invitations to these (*hint**hint*), and frankly I’m not that interested in meaningless activities when I could be doing something else more interesting, like watching Netflix (hehe). But if it’s a cooking workshop, you bet that I’ll try my best to get there.

Well, the stars aligned last week and I had the opportunity to attend a cooking workshop hosted by Panasonic and Le Creuset at the Panasonic Home2Com Solution Center. The workshop was held in conjunction with the release of the Panasonic Cubie Oven.

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Cubie? What a cute name right? Stems from the term “cubical”, with connotations of “small and compact” in its size, the design of this oven is focused on assisting young and urban families to make quick and healthy meals.

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With this oven, we can use different modes such as steaming, healthy frying, baking (roasting) and fermentation. Amazing right? Well during the workshop we had a couple of dishes to make, guided by Chef Chin Pei Ling, who has a hand in creating many dishes using the Cubie.

We first started with our dessert, the Mango Passionfruit Crumble. Interestingly this is a combination of cake and crumble so we had to do the cake base first.

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Cake base was very standard, beating the sugar and butter together until pale, then add egg, vanilla extract, milk and then flour and baking powder.

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Handmixer makes it so much easier.

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Look at everyone focusing on their creation.

The next 2 steps included mixing cut up mango with sugar, corn flour, lemon juice then top with some passion fruit. Great tropical flavours.

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The 2 Kellys at work. At that stage, we already had the fruits on top of the cake base and I was getting started with my crumble.

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With the crumble, it’s just mixing the flour, rolled oats, almond flakes, sugar and melted butter until crumbly and then spoon over the top.

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Check out our beautiful Le Creuset Mini Cocottes! Love the candy colours.

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Time to send it into the Cubie! Using the convection mode we baked this for around 25 in 180C. Preheating was done prior to this (not all modes requires preheating by the way)

We then moved on to our main course, Roasted stuffed Chicken with Sundried Tomato Pesto and Seasonal Root Vegetables.

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Chef making our Sundried tomato pesto, plenty to go around in the group.

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While we busy ourselves cutting vegetables…well… and taking photos.

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Expertly tying the chicken up. Haha. The pesto was spread on the meat side of the deboned chicken thigh and then asparagus, mushrooms and carrot placed on top.

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Final Seasoning! This time we used the Le Creuset Rectangular Dish to house the veggies and the chicken. This is a great size for couple portion.

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Before roasting the chicken, my dessert has to come out! Looking good! The Chicken is roasted at maximum heat, 230C for around 25 minutes as well for a beautifully browned top.

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Not long after, our chicken is done too. Can finally let my hair down, literally.

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Gorgeous!

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It sure was a useful and informative little workshop, although it would have been useful to include other functions of the cubie too as I was most looking forward to seeing how the steaming function works. But nevertheless, the demonstration of the oven was helpful for us to understand how a compact oven could work for a small size family. The chicken was devoured straight away by Kevin and I but I had dessert for days!

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Err… just a testament of my social awkwardness haha.

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We each received a lovely bouquet from Happy Bunch for attending the workshop, how thoughtful!

Well, now that I have my own Cubie oven, I’ll be sharing more recipes soon! Is there anything particular you would like to see?

For more information on Panasonic Cubie Oven, hop over to their website, or check out Panasonic’s facebook page. Thank you Panasonic and The Cooking House for a fun workshop!

Rendang Tok Perak with Philips All-In-One Pressure Cooker

Unboxing a new kitchen appliance is always a very exciting affair. Especially when it’s as big as the Philips All-In-One Pressure Cooker. That’s right, I received my very own just a couple of weeks ago and have been cooking up a storm with it. The original Philips Pressure Cooker has been very helpful in our kitchen too, but with the addition of new functions, I don’t even have to cook on the stove very much anymore.

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One of the very first dishes I made was, of course, the Rendang Tok Perak, which is well-documented in the book co-authored by Chef Marina Mustafa and Sara Khong, “One-Pot Wonders”. By the way, if you own a Philips All-In-One Cooker, this book is highly recommended, with details instructions on how to cook each dishes in either slow or pressure cooker mode, as well as conventional method (although who needs to use the conventional method with this?).

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So, back to Rendang. Normally, it takes around 4-5 hours of cooking and you can’t go very far away from the stove as you’d have to stir it quite frequently to prevent burning. That’s why a lot of newer generation cooks don’t even bother anymore. But what if I tell you-you can make this dish in under 1hour, with almost the same result?

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Of course, the very best rendang also lies in its ingredients. Make sure you use freshly squeezed coconut milk, the kerisik you choose should be those submerged in oil for the best flavour, and the quality of meat does matter.

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As you can see here, my Rendang is a little bit on the wet side. And that’s because I didn’t let it cook till dry (it’s an additional 15 minutes or so). I happen to like the extra gravy and in fact I kept some for future use (Rendang goes fabulously with Pasta!). Anyway, here’s a video, shot and edited by none other than Kevin, hehe.

I’ve made beef rendang the traditional way in the past, and I honestly feel that this is just as delicious. And this was even better the next day when the flavours had the time to develop and the sauce continued to thicken as I left it in the pot to warm. Other things I’ve cooked with the Philips All-In-One Cooker includes a Kek Gula Hangus (that was amazing), Barbeque Pork Ribs, Pork Belly and Bittergourd Stew, Japanese Mille Feuille Nabe (Napa Cabbage and Pork hot pot). It has made my life so easy!

Rendang Tok Perak

Ingredients to marinate:
1kg beef, cut into 11/2 inch cubes
2 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp ground black pepper
1/2 tbsp ground fennel
1/2 tbsp ground cumin
2 tbsp ground cinnamon

Spice Paste (Blended)
2 large red onions
3 cloves garlic
1 inch ginger
2 inches galangal
4 stalks lemongrass
3 fresh turmeric root, removed skin

Other ingredients:
2 star anise
5 cardamons
5 cloves
2 cups thick coconut milk
1/2 cup grated palm sugar
1 tbsp Chili Paste (or a lot more…. if you want spicy)
2 tbsp tamarind paste, diluted in 1 cup of water, discard seeds
1/2 cup kerisik
2 tsp salt
3 pieces kaffir lime leaves
2 turmeric leaves, finely sliced

Pressure Cooker Method:

  1. Rub the ground ingredients all over the meat and set aside until needed.
  2. Open the lid of the Philips All-In-One Pressure Cooker and press “Saute/Sear High Temp” and press “Start”
  3. Pour in oil when hot, add the blended ingredients, chili paste, whole spices and stir to mix.
  4. Put in the marinated beef cubes and stir for 20 seconds.
  5. Pour in coconut milk, tamarind juice, kaffir lime leaves & palm sugar. Stir til combined. (I accidentally added kerisik at this point but I don’t think it affected the outcome too much.
  6. Close the lid and turn the valve to “Seal”
  7. Press “Pressure Cook” button, choose “MEAT/POULTRY” and set the cooking time to 30 minutes (I actually set it to 40minutes because I prefer my beef more tender), press start.
  8. When “Keep Warm” light flicks on the panel, the beef rendang is ready. Open the lid and put in the kerisik, season with salt if needed. Since I already added the kerisik earlier I didn’t have to do much except for letting it reduce a little by putting it on “Saute/Sear High Temp” function. If you prefer a very dry/flossy rendang you just have to continue searing until desired consistency.
  9. Sprinkle with sliced turmeric leaves before serving.

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Thank you Philips Malaysia for your fabulous product, I’ll continue to post more recipes soon.

For more information on the Philips All-In-One Cooker, refer to my post for the product launch or visit www.philips.com.my/pressurecooker

 

Pork and Kimchi Cauliflower Fried Rice

My love for Fried Cauliflower Rice runs for at least 2 years deep. Some of you might remember my old post from 2014 for a basic version, or a Nasi Tomato adaptation (along with a cooking video! I must attempt that again soon). But because I have well and truly fallen off the Paleo bandwagon, this has dropped off my cooking rotation for a while. Meanwhile, my skill for the actual fried rice levelled up so much thanks to the rice monsters at home at one point I was considering opening up a place selling just fried rice. I’m looking at you, Kevin. But anyway I digress.

One day while we were getting ready to go out, I heard a cry from the next room. Thinking that Kevin might have hurt himself I rushed over to check, “I DON”T HAVE ANYTHING TO WEAR HUHUHUHUUUUU” he exclaimed with much exasperation. “Huh, why ah?” “Because I’m FAT la*”

Here, you heard it from me.

Yes, we keep ourselves active mostly, but we certainly have been indulging a little more than usual when it comes to food. Case in point: the Bak Kut Teh post just before this, haha. So with much persuasion and bribing, my-very-sexy-despite-a-little-overweight-so-he-claims-boyfriend finally agreed that we will go on a low carb diet, allowing one cheat day a week. Which means I get to exercise my muscles (and my brain) in the kitchen to come up with things interesting enough for him. I’m sure if I bring something like a poached chicken breast with blanched broccoli on a plate, he’d run out the door faster than our little Colt (the car). No….. we don’t want that. What we want, is diet food that tastes good. (Is there even such a thing?)

Well apparently yes. Something as simple as Cauliflower, mixed with other veges, some sort of protein and just some simple seasoning. Today, I present to you Kimchi and Pork Fried Cauliflower Rice! There’s no rice in this at all, so I can safely say that this is almost 100% nutri-dense. Plus, kimchi is really good for you what with the good bacteria for your gut and all. So without further ado, here’s a pic, and how you make this dish.

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Pork and Kimchi Cauliflower Fried Rice (for 3)
Half a head of Cauliflower
Few florets of Broccoli
2 clove of Garlic, minced
Half an onion, finely chopped
1 Carrot, finely chopped
1 big handful of Kimchi, chopped, reserving juice
100g Minced Pork
2 Eggs
Pinch of Salt and Pepper
1 tablespoon Soy Sauce*
1 tablespoon Ketchup
Spring onions, to garnish

To prepare the “cauli rice”, cut or tear the cauliflower florets by hand, remove excess moisture and pulse in food processor or blender until resembling rice. For this recipe, I pulse the cauliflower along with carrot and broccoli to save myself some time.

Heat oil in pan and saute onion and garlic until soft, then add minced pork and kimchi. Fry til the pork starts to brown, then add in all the vegetables. Stir around a little, then season with kimchi juice, soy sauce, ketchup, salt and pepper.

If you don’t drain the excess moisture enough, you will find that liquid will slowly pool up (happens to me all the time because I am err lazy). This is ok, just slowly let the liquid evaporates by pushing everything to the side. Not a disaster, but you do have to let all the liquid cook out otherwise it will become a soggy mess.

When the cauli rice is almost ready, make a well in the centre and crack 2 eggs into the space. Stir around to break up the yolks. Once it’s set, move around to mix everything merrily. Once the eggs are done, taste to adjust seasoning, then turn off heat. Garnish with Spring onion before serving. While this dish is also edible slightly cold, I’d suggest enjoy it while it’s hot for maximum comfort.

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As with normal fried rice, you can customize it until the cows come home. Don’t like pork? Use chicken or prawns, maybe tempeh if you want it vegetarian. More leftover vegetables crying for help in your drawer? Throw it in! The possibilities are endless. Eat this often enough (replacing your normal high carb meal la of course), you will thank me for your slimmer body soon enough.

So, since we have been so good this week, where shall we go for Bak Kut Teh this weekend?

Oh, and have a great weekend y’all!

*Conversation might not be in those exact words. But you get the jist la

Steamed 3 Colour Egg with Mince Pork

When it comes to eggs, there are so many ways to prepare it. Fried, Boiled, Poached, Baked, Steamed, and work into different recipes be it sweet or savoury. And if you are bored of the regular egg, you can trust the Chinese to come up with different ways of preserving eggs. Salted egg is magical stuff. Use it to coat anything, instant umami boost. And for those who are truly adventurous, Century Egg may look funky but has a far more complex flavour. For today’s recipe, I have combined all 3 of them for a truly comforting dish.

I’ve grown up eating Steamed eggs of all kinds of variations. At the very basic, it can be just eggs, water and some seasonings. It’s also commonly paired with minced pork for a more substantial meal. Over time, this dish has evolved to be more and more elaborate. Nowadays, I usually add both salted egg and century egg in our dish for that extra decadence.

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There are a few basic steps to steamed eggs. The water to egg ratio is generally about 1.5 to 1 or less. You can do this by measuring water with the halved egg shells. But I generally eyeball it by the level of the liquid in the bowl. The heat can’t be too high, or you’d risk spoiling the texture of the egg. Some people are particular about the super smooth surface of the egg, you can achieve that by lowering the heat so the water droplets don’t form on the cover to drip down. I tend to be less pedantic about that, even sprinkling the spring onions before the eggs are cooked (I don’t like to eat super raw spring onions). I’m not sure if this one has a scientific explanation, but I was told to used boiled water instead of tap water for better texture.

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My not so pretty steamed egg, haha!

Anyhoo, here’s the recipe!

Steamed Pork with 3 Colour Egg
150g Mince Pork
3 Eggs
1 Century Egg
1 Salted Egg
Cooled Boiled Water
Spring Onion
Sesame Oil
Soy sauce
White pepper
Half teaspoon cornflour

Marinate the pork with a touch of soy sauce, white pepper and cornflour and set aside til needed. Steam Salted egg for 5 minutes until cooked, then mash into small pieces. I usually crack it first to steam it in a small bowl. You could also steam the egg whole. Peel century egg and chop into small pieces. In a large bowl, crack 3 eggs and beat lightly, then add water. Mix well.

Prepare your steaming device (basic wok and metal trivet for me), making sure the water level is lower than the plate. Place the minced pork at the base of the steaming plate then pour over the egg and water mixture. Then scatter the chopped salted egg and century egg. Cover and steam for around 10 minutes. Then open up the cover and sprinkle spring onion on top, then steam for further 5 minutes or until done. To check, shake the plate, the egg should be slightlyy wobbly but set. Drizzle sesame oil on top, turn off heat and serve hot with rice.

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The two other egg creates a jewel-like effect, very pretty! Usually this portion would serve around 5-6 people nicely, though in our household 3 of us can polish this.

What’s your ultimate homecooked comfort dish?

Oriental Lasagna with Cream Crackers

How many of you grew up eating Cream Crackers? Well I certainly did as my father has been working with Hup Seng for the longest time as a wholesale distributor and if there’s anything that’s omnipresent in our household, this is it. There are many years Malaysians love to enjoy Cream crackers. Some of you would probably vouch for Milo + Crackers as your breakfast growing up. Kaya is a popular one as well I’m sure. I used to drizzle condense milk on my crackers, definitely not the healthiest but since we are already going there, why not go all the way right?

I remember once I was at a house party in Bintulu (of course I was still very young then), and I came across this savoury snack made with cream crackers, or we used to like to call it Ping Pong biscuits back then. It kinda did blow my mind. The eggy filling with something as simple as luncheon meat was all the more comforting. That was my only encounter with this Foochow hybrid snack. I don’t even know what it’s really called. But google turned up some results and I guess I’m gonna go with Oriental Lasagna.

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It resembles a lasagna because the cream crackers act as “Lasagna sheets”, you’ll do either 5 or 7 layers (depends how much crackers you want to consume). Although, the egg and milk filling also makes it similar to a quiche. The fillings always include Luncheon meat and onions at its simplest, especially back in the days when luxurious ingredients aren’t readily available. I added mushrooms in mine to errr lighten it slightly, haha. When cut up, it looks like this:

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My layers aren’t so distinctive because my egg/milk ratio is slightly higher thus the layers look more filled up. Which is fine for me because I love the filling. How to make this? Very simple, even kids can do it!

Oriental Lasagna (苏打饼千层糕)adapted from My Cooking Escapades.

Ingredients:
27 pcs of Cream Crackers (36 if you are doing an extra layer, which is what most people do I think)
1 can evaporated milk
5 eggs

Filling:
1 Onion, finely chopped
1 can Luncheon Meat, diced
Button mushrooms, a handful and roughly chopped
chili flakes
salt (optional)
White pepper

In a pan heat oil on high heat and saute onions until translucent, then add mushrooms and luncheon meat. Cook until slightly coloured and season with pepper and salt if you want to. i didn’t add any salt at all. Turn off heat and set aside. Depends on the amount of layers you might want to divide into either 2 or 3 portions.

Beat evaporated milk and eggs together and soak cream crackers in small batches (I soaked 9 at a time so I can do the whole layer, you can do it in even smaller amount). Just a few seconds would be fine, you just want the crackers to be less brittle to handle, since you’ll be drowning everything later anyway. Meanwhile, oil your square cake tin too (23cm x 23cm would be ideal).

Start lining the soaked cream cracker, your tin should fit 3 x 3, if not you might want to consider biting off the edges (just kidding, a little bit of overlapping won’t hurt). Spread half the luncheon meat mixture over, then layer with more cream crackers. Spread the other half of the meat mixture, and finish with the last layer of cream crackers.

Pour the remaining of the egg mixture over the top. Use a spatula to press down the top layer gently to ensure all layers are submerged. Steam for around 30minutes, or cover the tin with foil to bake for 40 minutes in 180C oven.

Let cool slightly before removing. I’d suggest at least 30 minutes. It’s lovely when warm, but perfectly fine room temperature. Serve it with chili sauce for extra oomph. I recommend Lingham’s.

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Don’t underestimate the serving. I think this easily feed around 10 people. I’m pretty sure this just blew Kevin’s mind today too. The sweetness of onion, savoury crackers and luncheon meat make such good pairing. A dose of chili sauce really elevates the whole experience too. This is something that will appeal to all ages for sure.

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Our breakfast!

This can keep in the fridge, although I’d guarantee there won’t be much leftover. Just reheat in the oven or re-steam before serving. I use my trusty airfryer of course. Though I’d recommend try baking it for a slightly crispy top for that textural contrast.

Please do try it at home and let me know how it goes!

Bitter Gourd Omelette

Ahhhhh… Bitter Gourd. You either love it or hate it. For me it was love developed overtime. I still remember vividly the first time Bitter Gourd appeared in my household when I was a lot younger. I was not the most adventurous eater back then (sure am making up for lost time now hehe), but my sister was tempted by its beautiful flower-like appearance. But one bite, she was traumatised for life (or at least for many years after). So yes, the taste of Bitter Gourd can take a little getting used to, but it does come with a myriad of health benefits.

Bitter Gourd is a temperate/tropical vegetable originated in South-East Asia, it’s very low in calories, but contains high amount of Vitamin C, folate, ß-carotene, a-carotene, lutein, zea-xanthin and Vitamin A. It’s also moderate source of B-complex vitamins such as niacin (vitamin B-3), Pantothenic acid (vitamin B-5), Pyridoxine (vitamin B-6) and minerals such as Iron, Zinc, Potassium, Manganese and Magnesium. Most importantly, it contains a phyto-nutrient called polypeptide-P, a plant insulin known to lower blood sugar levels, which means it’s great for people with diabetes too. So in short, all of us would benefit from consuming Bitter Gourd.

There are many ways of preparing Bitter Gourd. My favourite would be Bitter Gourd Omelette. Although I’m also partial to Bitter Gourd and Pork soup. I’d say that Bitter Gourd omelette appears pretty often on our table anyway. But it wasn’t until couple of months ago during our trip to Penang, our mind was truly blown.

Most of the time when we cook Bitter Gourd Omelette, the eggs are fully cooked, achieving a little bit of char for that extra wok hei. But not at this place called Song River Coffee Shop at Gurney Drive Penang.

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The egg was runny, and a brown sauce is poured over, providing that extra umami touch. I know it’s super simple, but please give a round of applause to whoever came up with this recipe. It has truly set a new standard for us. Needless to say, this dish was the highlight of our trip and I vowed to never cook Bitter Gourd any other way.

The dish is simple enough though. I’ve since cooked it a few times at home and it’s always the first dish to finish. Here’s my version:

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Mine’s a little more cooked than the Song River’s, you can always undercook it a little more. But the idea is to achieve at least 50% runny bit for the ultimate sensory experience.

Bitter Gourd Omelette

Half a medium size Bitter Gourd, halved lengthways and thinly sliced
3 Eggs
Light Soy Sauce (around 1 tablespoon)
Fish Sauce (around 1 teaspoon)

Usually, after I sliced the Bitter Gourd, I like to sprinkle some salt over and leave it for 10-15 minutes, as this will draw out excess juice to make it less bitter. You can omit this step if you like it extra bitter. Rinse the salt off well, and set aside. Mix the soy sauce and fish sauce with a little of water and set aside.

Heat a pan on high and add your choice of oil. You need a little more for the eggs to be nice and smooth. Add Bitter Gourd and cook for 2-3 minutes until soften.

Break the eggs into a bowl and lightly break up the yolks, don’t beat it though because we want to keep the yolk and white slightly separated. Distribute the Bitter Gourd evenly and pour over the egg. Use the spatula to move it a couple of times to distribute the egg. Then let it cook for under a minute, until the bottom is just set.

Pour over the sauce around the side and over the middle just as you turn off the heat, and serve immediately. Best with rice!

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Yeap. It’s just simple as that!

A video posted by Kelly Siew (@kellysiew) on Oct 2, 2016 at 3:01am PDT

 

Look at that wobble!

As for the sauce, if you have a very good soy sauce which has a balance of sweet and savoury note, you won’t need anything else. Feel free to adjust the sauce to your liking, I sometimes add a touch of Black vinegar too for a little tang.

Do try this at home and let me know what you think!

Pork Belly Adobo

Words cannot describe how much I love pork belly in any form. Roast, Fried, Braised, Baked, you name it, I’ll eat it. Or maybe more accurately, I love biting into the succulent fat. It’s truly surprisingly I’m not obese by now. I guess that’s further supporting evidence that consuming animal fats isn’t the worst thing you can do to yourself. Note that I do have familial hypercholesterolaemia but my levels are actually pretty good ever since I change my diet habit to embrace real fats (synthetic fat is bad for you yo!).

Anyways, as you might have noticed, my work schedule is completely inhuman lately. With average of 20 shows per month, I really don’t have much time off to do my own thing. Therefore, cooking has to be fast and simple, yet not losing the flavours. In my last post, I’ve included a photo of this dish I cooked along with the Preserved Veges dish which some of you have eyes sharp enough to pick it out. And today I’d like to share the recipe of this delicious Pork Belly Adobo.

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Adobo is pretty much a national dish of Philippines. It involves meat, seafood or vegetables cooked in soy sauce, vinegar and garlic. The name might be taken from the Spanish, but the cooking method is definitely native. Chicken is commonly used, so is Pork. It’s a no brainer which one I prefer.

The process involves marinating the pork for at least an hour, and then just a simple braising process to allow the flavours to penetrate the meat until it’s nice and tender. Technically you won’t even need a recipe for this, but I shall break it down for you.

Pork Belly Adobo

300g Pork Belly, cut into bite size pieces
1/4 Cup Light soy sauce
1 tbsp Dark Soy Sauce (optional)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 Cup Vinegar
2 Bay Leaves
1 teaspoon Black peppercorns

Marinate the pork belly in half of the soy sauce, garlic for at least 1 hour. If you need to leave it in the fridge, make sure the pork comes back to room temperature before cooking.

Heat a non-stick pan and add all the pork in to brown (there’s no need for oil since there’s plenty of fat in the pork already), then add the rest of the ingredients except vinegar (soy sauce, sugar, garlic, bay leaves, black peppercorns), stir to combine, bring to boil then turn down the heat to simmer.

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Add a bit of water and let the dish simmer for around 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the pork is starting to get tender, add vinegar and cook for further 20 minutes. The cooking liquid should be slightly thicker at this point. Turn off the heat and let it sit for around 15 for the flavours to further develop. Serve hot with rice.

Here’s a close up.
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If you like your food spicy, you can actually add a chili padi or two during the cooking process. I prefer to just serve it with chili to tailor to individual liking. This method can be adapted to chicken as well, but the cooking time will be much shorter.

Hope you get to try this one day!

Preserved Mustard Green with Minced Pork (雪里红炒肉末)

It’s amazing how with years of cooking vegetables I’m still constantly finding new exciting recipes to try. Recently Kevin and I went to a Chinese Restaurant that serves a huge variety of traditional Chinese dishes called Da Feng Shou (Good Harvest). The tag line mentioned Fu Zhou Home Cooked Dishes which piqued my interest (as you know I’m Foochow), but the menu appears to be a mixture, with a slight bias to Szechuan dishes. No big deal, plenty of things I like anyway.

Kevin spotted Xue Li Hong on the menu and insisted on ordering it. Its Chinese name translate to Red in the Snow, which could be a little morbid come to think of it. But it’s actually a type of Preserved Mustard Green, and it’s super easy to make at home. The dish blew my mind with its explosion of flavours and it goes so well with rice. Needless to say, I decided to try it at home. Here’s my version:

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Traditionally, Xue Li Hong is made with Gai Choy, though nowadays Choy Sum is also commonly used. I opted for the latter as it’s easier to find. The process involves just few steps: First you wash the leaves clean and separate the stalks, then you generously sprinkle salt over and gently rub into the leaves, wait for an hour or so until everything softens, then put the whole bunch into a ziploc bag to preserve in the fridge. 1 or 2 days would be enough, checking it from time to time to drain exceed liquid, but 1 week would be more ideal.

When you are ready to cook, simply take the Xue Li Hong out, rinse it well, squeeze out the excess liquid and chop into small pieces. Like so:

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I wanted to keep this dish simple yet flavourful, so I’ve chosen to fry it with Pork Lard, Mince Pork and a touch of chili. The ingredients are as follow:

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Pork Lard (I cut it off a piece of pork belly I was using the cook another dish)
100g Mince Pork, marinate with a touch of soy sauce, Shao Xing wine and white pepper
Xue Li Hong (of course)
2-3 cloves of Garlic, finely chopped
1 Chili Padi

First, let’s render the pork lard. Heat the pan and add in the small pieces of lard and cook until brown. You’ll see plenty of oil rendered with just that tiny bit. Keep the crispy bit in the pan of course, it’s like golden treasure.

Bring the heat to high, add garlic and cook until fragrant, then add mince pork to cook until no longer pink. Lastly, add the Xue Li Hong to pan along with chopped chili padi (I only add one because our chili padi is rather powerful, feel free to adjust to your taste). Just a splash of water to bring everything together, and you can turn off the heat. Serve hot with rice.

Take note that the Xue Li Hong is already salty, so there’s no need to add anymore salt.

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The whole dinner spread:

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Pork Belly Adobo and Green Bean Omelette. Simple dishes, maximum flavours, happy tummies!